to eNews and the launch of our Autumn 2004 publishing
In this issue, we celebrate the release of our brand spanking new
titles: Merle Thornton’s After
Moonlight, Dianne Cleary’s
Perfect People and Café Boogie by Jenni Nixon. We also celebrate
the release of the text/audio version of Swelter by Louise Waller
and Kristin Hannaford.
These works—a novel, non-fiction
book, poetry collection and text+audio CD—reflect the growing
diversity of our list.
They also illustrate the flexibility of independent publishing,
a subject addressed further by David in his Editorial.
In Focus, Jenni Nixon provides us with our first feature article
in verse. Dianne Cleary explains her motivation for Perfect
People and Merle Thornton tells us why launching After
Moonlight at the
Regatta Hotel in Brisbane, the site of her famous protest action,
is so special. An important reminder to our
readers to hurry with those RSVPs for this event on April 21. Don’t
I revive Bestlinks with a feature on two of the quality titles
offered from other Queensland based independent publishers, the
hospital for dolls by Melissa Ashley from Post Pressed and Graham
Nunn’s A Zen Firecracker, Collected Haiku from Impressed
Publishing. The Director of the latter explains the philosophy
behind his new publishing house.
David is Out and About previewing
some of the launch details as well as his upcoming tour, and he
updates us on the new ip.assess service.
This issue is for our new authors and for you, our readers. So
before you click away, check out our special deals and pick up
a few books to snuggle up with in the winter months ahead. For
readers in the North—get em while they’re hot!
Sara Moss, Editor, IP eNews
the Director's Desk
of you who have been following IP's evolution over the past seven
years will be suitably impressed to see the range and
diversity of titles in our upcoming Spring 2004 Season. No
less than eight new titles will soon be out there, and the residence
of the authors reflects IP’s position as a national publisher.
In order of launch events (not importance!), in early October,
have Wendy Evan’s The Diggings Are Silent an intriguing
collection of short fiction that was Commended in the 2004 IP
Picks competition. Wendy’s a WA author, and she’s
teamed up with song writer and performer Alan Ferguson, who put
the title story to music, which will be released by IP Digital
at the same time as Wendy’s book.
Later that month, I'll travel to Victoria for events in Melbourne
and Benalla in support of Joel Deane’s novel Another and
Cate Kennedy’s second poetry collection, Joyflight. Both
were 2004 IP Picks winners in their respective categories.
Dr David Reiter
Are the arts poised to become more popular in these anxious times?
This is the buzz in the current fuel4arts online chat aimed at
expanding sponsorships and donations to needy arts organisations
(is there any other kind?) The idea is that the arts offer respite
from our daily cares—a meaningful one, as opposed to the
pap offered by “reality TV”.
Since Plato, artists have been lectured on the need to make their
work more socially astute, that is, in a complementary shade to
the current fashion and opinion. The same advice applies to arts
organisations that want to attract corporate sponsorships. They
must deliver cultural products that have a positive impact on a
company’s bottom line, which is seldom found in the same
department as its social conscience.
These partnerships between producers of art and corporate sponsors
can be rather artful in themselves. Consider the example of the
UK television program Silent Witness, where Professor and Chief
Forensic Pathologist Sam Ryan gets to commune with a sexy iMac,
complete with a 20” LCD monitor, while her subordinates are
left to muddle on with grey Windows work stations. Is there any
doubt whose diagnosis we should trust—or whose computer we
But even among the artists’ artists it must be hard sometimes
to resist the temptation to deliver a work that has base commercial
appeal, something that might look forward to an afterlife in plasticine.
A book cover that can sit well on the coffee tables of corporate
waiting rooms. Or a cunningly proportioned artwork that might grace
the wall of boardrooms thirty floors and higher—and not clash
with the colour scheme.
If more corporations saw a payoff in sponsoring the arts, arts
organisations could gravitate toward the commercial world, weaning
themselves away from dependence on government grants. With the
time saved from applying for and acquitting grants alone, these
organisations might produce even more art works, street-savvy and
But do these arts organisations have what it takes to go cold turkey?
And how many artists are willing to concede that ‘meeting
the market’ should be a factor in the projects they take
The fact of the matter is that government funding for the arts
will continue to erode in the face of more pressing social priorities.
When has a government ever fallen due to a failed arts policy?
If the arts budget drops from 0.1% of the health budget to 0.05%,
who will go out on the streets in support of endangered artists?
Is that because we all silently share the view that the best artists
will always find a way to get their work produced? Or do we think
that hunger is the best safeguard against complacency in our artists?
Individual artists may have to spend less time “networking” with
the bureaucrats over the funding crumbs and more time creating
work that attracts interest—and dollars—from ordinary
people, and that’s probably a good thing. People have lost
faith in their politicians to address the big picture issues, so
artists who find a way to make insightful comment through their
work may find new audiences who will embrace their work for its
substance and craft, rather than the business plan behind it. The
alternative is what we have too much of already: a tame, politically
anorexic art that is all-too comfortable speaking to itself.
It may be mundane, but it’s
still important to let you know... IP has changed banks, so, for
those of you wanting to pay us in the cyber sort of way, you need
to make note of our new EFT details, effective immediately:
Over the past month, we have interviewed and certified
quite a few freelance assessors to work with us in our new premium
service. (Thanks to all the State Writers Centres and
others for helping us get out the word!)
We now have sufficient numbers of highly qualified assessors
to let you know that IP.assess is now open for business.
Again, a key difference between IP.assess and traditional
assessment services is that ours is the only one hosted by a
publishing house. We will only take on mss that have a good chance
of getting published, and our assessors will focus their comments
on getting those promising mss to the next stage at which IP
or other publishers will be more likely to say yes.
Since we put the emphasis on the digital review of mss, our
assessors can live anywhere in Australia, and we’re particularly
pleased to have added assessors to the register who live in regional
areas of the country.
For full details on IP.assess, please check out its home
<title>IP eNews </title>
[In this issue, we focus on our
new authors: Jenni Nixon; Dianne Cleary and Merle Thornton.
I asked each of them to explain what inspires their writing. Their
responses are as diverse and unique as the titles we’re releasing
Thornton tells us why it means so much to launch her book,
After Moonlight, at the Regatta Hotel in Brisbane, Dianne
Cleary describes her recipe for success in soufflés as well
as books, and Jenni Nixon gives her answer in verse.]
Why launch After Moonlight at the Regatta Hotel?
The Regatta is an important site for me personally, because it
was the place where my public efforts towards the full acceptance
women in public life began. And the Regatta is now a changed site,
welcoming to women in all its public spaces. It has become emblematic
of the changed presence of women in Australian public life.
Moonlight is a novel, a story about a contemporary woman
character Claire, aged thirty-seven. She lives in a very different
from that in 1965 when I chained myself to the Regatta bar rail.
Women are out in public life now, but there are new problems to
confront. Though quirky rather than typical as a personality, Claire
broadly representative of the difficulties of confronting the changed
balance of the personal, the political, the professional.
It seems to me fitting to bring my book about a woman facing the
new problems back to the Regatta where I confronted the old prohibitions.
— Merle Thornton
It’s really a simple enough recipe, not unlike a soufflé…
Step 1 Take one Australian corporate career woman nudging forty
who knows little or nothing about raising children and get her
Step 2 Set her and her new born child in a world of terrorism and
Step 3 Watch her self-confidence wilt and her fears flourish as
she comes to terms with the enormity of the task set for her in
raising a perfect child in the unforgiving 21st century
Step 4 Witness her drive to distraction as she badgers a wide range
of well-known Australians - sports stars, media personalities,
business leaders - into telling a personal story, showing that
there is no such thing as perfection and that their feet are made
of clay, just like everyone else
Step 5 Use these stories to show that clay feet don’t stop
people reaching extraordinary achievements
Step 6 Weave the stories together with a subtle “story between
Step 7 Get the book published and launched
Step 8 Give all your proceeds to the Children’s Hospital
And, just like all my attempts at making soufflés, this
one was a very up and down process.
Writing has always been a bit of a hobby; something I’ve
used to try to ignite the creative side of my mind, which is otherwise
subsumed by my focus on business issues as I try to perform in
my role as partner in a global management consulting firm.
But as a newish mother—my son is now three years old—and a fulltime
worker, time is the biggest constraint to writing.
My decision to write Perfect
the result of passion and fear. I feel passionate about kids and
giving them the opportunity
to grow in a secure loving environment where they can make mistakes
and recover without being branded “failures” or “outcasts”.
I am fearful of the pressures of Australia’s new benchmark, “perfection” and
the unrealistic demands it places on kids, parents and carers alike.
So, I decided to make the time to write.
Researching and writing Perfect People took me on a rollercoaster
ride of highs and lows as I tried to encourage some of Australia’s
most gifted and famous people to share my enthusiasm and their
personal tales for a book that dispels the myth of perfection.
Over the more than two years of writing the book I met and spoke
with over 100 incredibly talented people. I was surprised to find
how down-to-earth and generous some of them are. I laughed at their
stories. I was annoyed and dismayed by the rejections. And, often
swore in frustration as I tried to weave the stories and interactions
into a book that people would finding engaging and fun to read,
while juggling the rest of life.
Now, with the book ready for its launch at The Children’s
Hospital at Westmead, I feel relieved that it’s finished
and look forward to my next big challenge, making that perfect
— Dianne Cleary
poetry the run of
a line a sonnet on the breath
began for me as voice exercises in Drama School
author’s intention emphasis alliteration humour
Poe’s moon never beams without bringing me
Robinson’s old Eben Flood drunk with
only two moons listening
Dylan Thomas’s the moon that is always
lunar love honey pouring out all over the page sweet
sound flourishes I’d practice the words for
play a maid with a feather duster in Skin of our Teeth
a pregnant mother of no-neck monsters in Cat on a Hot
accused of witchcraft in The Crucible learn to
sell pigs and piss and prostitutes in Bartholomew Fair
climb Halfway Up The Tree in the Ustinov play
in a Greek tragedy learn acceptance as Antigone
dying daily with the Queensland Theatre Company—
do a poetry program for high school kids That’s
What I Said
includes Australian Poets (Judith Wright’s Country Dance)
returning to Sydney and unemployment
met contemporary poets Vicki Viidikas Pam
joanne burns and many in the Sydney scene
I start performing their work at the Nimrod
the Bondi Pavilion writing my own poems
invited to read at the Harold Park Hotel
published in Love and Death and the Effect of Aids on Desire love is active like breath you
cannot hold forever
contribute to small press publications
join women writers groups
though ill health causing problems I have a new career
writing poetry is no way to earn a living I like
to confront fears
unleash the volcano see what lies beneath surface
find the magic the gem that has me gasping with
bursting with laughter stifling giggles
it’s the challenge to get it right
I hope to connect with the reader/audience
make a difference deliver a poem
engage absorb and respond
with fear the shakes stand and
(sometimes I prefer to sit however you
get the drift)
it‘s a choice to keep some
kind of record
a powerful influence on my writing is listening to music
I’d be truly mad without poets and players of songs
friends for films and theatre visits
books daily diet of TV fodder
ego-deflation input from my cats
their demands for food on time
critical response of willing listeners
to my reading of the work out aloud
I’m a performer I like to entertain
leave you wanting more
— Jenni Nixon
Autumn Season 2004 is about
to hit the road! Not far in the first instance, since
we plan to return to our usual practice of kicking off with a Brisbane
event before heading elsewhere.
April 21 will see a gala launch at the Regatta Hotel in Toowong.
Aside from being a watering hole of great historic interest, the
Regatta was the scene of a now infamous blow to male supremacy,
courtesy of Merle Thornton and Ro Bogner, who chained themselves
to the public bar to protest against the exclusion of women from
We’ve certainly come a long way since 1965! Enemies have
long since turned friends, and now the Regatta, which has been
undergoing a facelift of the non-cosmetic kind for the past year,
has aptly named one of its new function spaces The Thornton Room.
What better place to serve as the launching pad for Merle’s
novel After Moonlight, which will be the featured work at an event
generously hosted by the Regatta.
Besides the usual reading and
signing segments, a highlight of the evening will be a conversation
between Merle and her actor-daughter Sigrid, who will be launching
Conspicuous by their presence will be our other Autumn 2004 releases.
People is a new Glass House Books release by Sydney management
consultant Dianne Cleary. If Bridget Jones could ever get it together
enough to write a how-to book, this might be it. Dianne goes behind
machines to track down over 100 of Australia’s most successful
and famous people, and, through candid interviews, reveals some of
their dreams, fears, imperfections, blunders and gaffs—all
in the name of giving us advice on what comprises “success” in
The project caught the imagination of Professor David Bennett, who
runs an adolescent health care unit at The Children’s Hospital,
Westmead and who believes Dianne’s book could serve as a useful
guide to parents wanting to give their children a head start in life.
So, the hospital will be hosting the Sydney launch of Perfect
People on 28 April, from 3 p.m.—just in time
for Mother’s Day.
Also from Sydney is Jenni Nixon, well-known in spoken word circles
there, whose first book Café Boogie was
Commended in the IP Picks 2003 competition. Hard-hitting and street-wise,
Jenni’s poetry ventures where many well-groomed poets fear
to tred, but always with an eye to craft and clarity of vision. Café Boogie will
have its Sydney launch in June at Gleebooks, but Sydneysiders
can jump the queue by placing
their order with
us from 21 April.
Finally, following on the success of Chris Mansell’s The
Fickle Brat, IP Digital will release the second title in our
Audio + Text Series, Swelter,
by Louise Waller and Kristin Hannaford. This duo from Yeppoon (near
Rockhampton) was born to perform, and much of their work is performance-based,
so it was a natural for the new Series.
Kristin and Louise are quietly confident that an application for
funding from Arts Queensland will come through, enabling them to
tour Central Queensland extensively later in the year. We’ll
keep you posted.
As we speak, David’s itinerary
for a swing through western New South Wales, Melbourne, Canberra,
and towns along the New England Highway is taking shape.
to this will be the Melbourne launch of After Moonlight,
but David will also be promoting his novel Liars
and Lovers as well as his magical realism novel for
older children, The
which appeared from Lothian Books in January.
In this issue we feature
some of the fine work produced by two of our local friends in independent
publishing, Post Pressed and the newly established Impressed
also invite David Weekes, the Director of Impressed Publishing, to
tell us more about the venture.
Melissa Ashley, the hospital for dolls
Pressed, 2003, ISBN 1 876682 50 7.
I first heard Melissa Ashley’s poetry at the Queensland Poetry
Festival in the mid 90s. One of a promising generation of
Queensland-based young poets, Melissa was also co-director of the
festival for a number of years. I liked her work then and I still
do. She has broadened her scope from lyrical pieces, with which I
was more familiar, to scholarly prose. I am pleased to say that with
the latter she still retains a strong and unique poetic voice.
The lyrically structured poems are still here, among them, the gut
wrenching title poem, “the hospital for dolls”, exploring the emotional
consequences of an abortion. But in this collection, Ashley delves
even deeper into women’s experiences, exploring the physical
dimensions in visceral detail.
What I most admire about Ashley’s work is her unapologetic
feminism and her analytical approach to history and experience. In
a sense, I read many of these poems and prose pieces as history made
flesh. A good example is “how it feels to be force fed” after djunna
barnes, which recalls the experience of imprisoned suffragettes.
come into your cell you
sew your eyes
to the ceiling
fix your attention on the bad light
a sluggish cockroach the mildewed graffiti…
...the liquid funnelled into the rubber tubes has
consistency of semen a butter-yellow concoction
milk and raw eggs there are swabs soaked in
and disinfectant for your nose…
…years later whenever you smell the contents of a
bucket full of soapy water when they forced their
way into your a scratching at the lock like mice
we will let you breathe when you turn purple…
This poem achieves more in a few simple lines than hours of lecturing
on the significance of women’s struggle. I suggest it should
be compulsory reading for all young women who glibly declare themselves “non-feminists”.
However, Ashley’s first collection isn’t uniformly brilliant
and I would be doing it and her a disservice to just shower it with
praise. There’s evidence of recent academic study, resulting
in obscure references that would be lost on many readers. I think
she needs time for the theory to settle, to be more fully integrated
with her own strong voice.
The biography in the hospital for dolls states that Melissa Ashley
has moved to Melbourne where she’s writing a novel. For selfish
reasons, I hope she’ll keep writing poetry.
You can order your copy of the hospital for dolls directly from Post
Graham Nunn, A Zen Firecracker, Selected Haiku Impressed Publishing,
2004, IBSN 0-9751618-1-4.
Graham Nunn is another Queensland author with a long history of association
with the local poetry festival. He is a writer of both haiku and
contemporary verse. A Zen Firecracker, Collected Haiku is
his first book.
I’ve yet to have the pleasure of reading this title, so we
invited the author to submit this blurb.
Within the cracker-coloured covers of this pocket-sized (167mm x
110mm) book, Graham Nunn fires off 100 haiku.
With a maximum of two haiku per page, each of the poems is honoured
by the generous white space around them. Near-random spacing on the
page, and variation of haiku line alignments, help suppress any carry-over
of mood and image between haiku—there is little need for
mind-clearing breaks when reading.
The haiku in A Zen Firecracker have a distinctly Australian voice
and include many local subjects: flying fox, sheep, ti-tree, rosella,
jacaranda, curlew, and whip bird:
high in the canopy
of the whip bird
There are also many haiku finely attuned to the seasons:
leaves all raked
hangs in the branches
Reflections is another common theme, such as in this delightful prize-winning
each stroke of the oar
stirs the clouds
Some of the haiku take risks and step outside the mainstream:
at the back of my throat
Others have the pleasure of the simple:
taller than me
In terms of craft the haiku are somewhat on the minimalist side, but, as with
many things, sometimes less is more:
I asked David Weekes, the Director
of Impressed Publishing, to tell us a little something about his
Publishing began operations in late 2003 as a result of a combination
of too many martinis, too many
poets, and the inspiration
of a book entitled Ahead
of its Time the history of Clocktower Press.
Although still in its infancy Impressed has stepped up to the crease with a
winning combination of some of Australia’s best poets and authors including
Brentley Frazer, Stephen Oliver, Graham Nunn, and Fakie Wilde.
released three books to date besides A Zen Firecracker: XONNOX by
Fakie Wilde, and two anthologies entitled Text
Messages and Speedpoets: the best of 2003.
The next few weeks will see the launch of Impressed’s next two titles:
The Throat’s Arroyo by Stephen Oliver, and Share The Tragedy, Graham
The future is looking bright for Impressed Publishing with several collaborations
in the works and a swag of more books on the way in 2004.
Impressed Publishing is an ambitious little project, seeking to return the
power of the written word to the author and wrest it from the grasp of the
Order any IP poetry title and get a second one for 50% off.
Buy any two titles from the IP Shop via our order page to qualify.
Do it before 1 May and and we’ll
throw in free postage and handling (a flat $5 charge applies thereafter.
YD:22_1. Payment by cheque, money order or EFT only. Credit
card orders, add $2 per title.
Deal 2: Order an IP Six-pack for $66 + $6.
Your choice of any six IP titles published before 2003 for just $11
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